Articles Index/Living With Your Dog
Several recent events, a couple involving dogs I know and one involving a small dog whose owner had newly moved to my town, brought to mind the importance of being prepared in case one of your Norfolks decides to take an unauthorized walkabout!
It is important that your dog be tattooed and/or microchipped. Wearing a current rabies tag or ID tag on his collar is also helpful, although collars do come off.
If your dog disappears from your yard, get the word out to canine control officers, veterinarians, and neighbors (even though you may have never introduced yourself before) just as quickly as possible. Having a photo of the breed available ... even if it isn't actually your dog ... is helpful as you make up posters. And remember, if you are describing your lost Norfolk, you don't have to go into great detail. Small brown (or black and tan) terrier, weighs about 12 pounds with short, stubby tail ... is a description many people can relate to. Describing ears that "fold down" is preferable to "drop ear" ... and don't forget to give the dog's call name. It is probably best not to describe your dog as a show champion or valuable brood bitch. Playing up the loss of a loved companion, as opposed to something with potential monetary value, will help to keep out the unscrupulous; although "reward offered for safe return" (without mentioning a dollar amount) may help get the attention of some otherwise uninterested people.
Also, when travelling, carry identification papers. It's a great idea to have an ID tag made with your destination address, as well as one with your home address, if you are going to be spending time in a distant location and will have your dog with you.
As with any search, the quicker you start looking, the better. If you think that printing 100 flyers or posters will be sufficient, at least double that amount and give them out or post them freely. Let as many kids know as possible. If you have children, let them enlist their friends in the search. During the school year, approach staff at local schools and ask that flyers be posted.
And, don't give up. Recently in my town a woman's miniature Dachshund disappeared when it snuck out an unlatched back door. Nearly two months later, the dog was found in another town about 15 miles away. There is no way this tiny tyke could have gone that far, a journey that included crossing the Connecticut River, by himself. It is assumed that someone found him and, for reasons only known to whoever it was, took him home and then let him go.
In any case, the woman who'd lost him was persistent and never gave up hope. Animal Control in the distant town gave her a call when her dog turned up. Needless to say, a very happy reunion ensued.
ANTIC, September, 2004
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